LAHORE - The site of the Chinese consulate in the provincial capital can become a security hazard because of its location in a thickly populated area.

China, which is a friendly neighbour of Pakistan is opening a consulate office in Lahore soon in a bid to facilitate the Punjab-based investment projects promised under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

In addition to this goal, the Chinese government wants to improve coordination for the security of more than 1000 Chinese engineers and technical experts working on different projects in Punjab.

A security assessment report of a top security service suggests the surroundings of the Chinese consulate are thickly populated which can create security risks. It says forces hostile to Pak-China relations can exploit an opportunity for undertaking subversive action on the Chinese mission in Lahore.

It says the Chinese consulate is being established on a land measuring more than 1.6 acres (14 kanals and 3 marlas) in Block B of New Muslim Town. The land for the consulate office consists of two houses.

The site at its one corner touches Shaikh Zayed Hospital and faces the Punjab University Road. The surroundings of the consulate cover the residential area of New Muslim Town.

The busy road facing the consulate’s location with similar conditions of its by-lanes can make it difficult for the authorities concerned to manage its security.

The landlords of the property - Faisal Javed Chaudhry and Umer Javed Chaudhry – are politically affiliated with the ruling party and belong to District Mandi Bahauddin. The report says a memorandum has been sent to the Chinese authorities concerned to formally seal the deal.

Punjab Home Minister Colonel (r) Shuja Khanzada, when contacted, said, “China is establishing its consulate in Lahore in New Muslim Town and we will ensure security to our Chinese friends.” He said provincial anti-terrorism sections had the complete capacity to counter the possible threats to province’s security.

The number of Chinese technical experts has gone up in Punjab as various mega energy projects of coal and solar sectors are underway. Currently, the Chinese experts are working on various projects in the province including Nandipur Power Project, Jinnah Barrage Hydro Power Project, Bahawalpur Solar Park and Motorways.

The Lahore Orange Line Mass transit also to be executed with the help of the China, which will require 5,000 professionals and labourers. The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has signed $4.23 billion worth financial agreements with different companies to execute other projects in Punjab.